Mike’s comment on this is extremely useful. I love how he turns to Luther and Tyndale to highlight the issue.
I was personally back in the late 80’s attracted to the current Spiritual Formation movement, being a card carrying Renovare person. Practicing the solitary and silence 🤐 🤫. In the practice of Lectio, I was asked to follow my heart to hear what God was speaking though a limited word or phrase. I think I was drawn (could I say saved) out of it because I kept wanting to engage my mind and understand God’s word from God’s whole word in the Bible alone, not a mystical repetition. Lectio itself seemed so limited in hearing the full story of what God’s word reveals. And becomes mystical or even gnostic in gaining a higher personal revelation via the experience or personally directly from God.
Of course the Spiritual disciplines are now broadly taught and encouraged and those involved rarely will tolerate any questioning. In my observation, I can’t go a day without someone happily speaking about their Spiritual Formation practices. All of course really sincerely pursued.
This is well outside the realm of monks and nuns. It’s in the mainline and evangelical visible churches.
Curiously if the word to describe this is “idolatry” perhaps we can learn from what Paul says, and Old John Gill comments upon. I never looked at it in this context.
1 Corinthians 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
for then must you needs go out of the world; meaning not out of Greece, or of any of the cities thereof, into other parts, but out of the world itself; they must even destroy themselves, or seek out for a new world: it is an hyperbolical way of speaking, showing that the thing is impracticable and impossible, since men of this sort are everywhere; and were all trade and conversation with them to be forbidden, the families of God’s people could never be supported, nor the interest of religion maintained; a stop would soon be put to worldly business, and saints would have little or nothing to do in the world; wherefore, as the Arabic version reads it, “business would compel you to go out of the world”.
But he goes on to explicitly say this does apply to the church. If so it presents a very challenging 😥 task to be separate. We probably need more insight and Grace in applying that since so many are involved.
by Mike Ratliff
1 Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; 3 and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” (Genesis 35:1-3 NASB)idolatry 1: the worship of a physical object as a god 2: immoderate attachment or devotion to something (from Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary)
I’m sure that most Christians’ conception of idolatry is one in which people fall down and worship some statue or image or a facsimile of something that appears…
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